Wildcats Thunder Football/Recruiting Analyst
Rotnei Clarke is not slow and has pretty good footspeed, and a quick release on his jump shot. He is an accurate shooter with great range.
Any halfway decent defense can stop one scorer. Tactical problems come when you have to stop several scorers on the same team. A perimeter shooter can be stopped with a match-up perimeter defensive scheme. The problem is, you can't afford to extend your defense if your opponent has a strong baseline game. Ryan Humphries got a lot of open looks because Florida's opponents were forced to drop a defender down to the low block to front Noah and Horford, both of whom were potent baseline scorers and first round NBA draft choices.
That's why Rotnei Clarke would be most effective on a team with a potent baseline game. In addition, I don't see many people addressing Clarke as a defensive liability, but that's what he would be at the SEC level. (BTW, so was Pat Sparks....or have we already forgotten?)
I don't want to beat a dead horse here. Rotnei Clarke has been recruited by UK's staff, and is on Gillispie's board. He has visited Lexington, and he will get an in-home visit from Gillispie this month. It's possible that he could sign with UK in November. But Clarke is still making campus visits, which tells you that he is not completely sold on one school.
It is, however, important to understand that Gillispie's recruiting methodology since April has been a dynamic and vigorous process. Gillispie has been on the job for five months now. In that span, he has hired a staff, and he has talked with a LOT of prospects. More than 40 HS basketball players have visited UK since May on unofficial visits, or to participate in UK's June basketball camp. Seven prospects (Legion, Patterson, Liggins, Miller, Vilarino, Euton, Ross-Miller) have already verballed to UK, but many more have either verballed elsewhere or ruled out UK in the meantime. Therefore, UK's recruiting board has changed a lot in the last five months.
Two verbal commitments to UK have now been announced by 2008 prospects (Liggins and Miller). In the meantime, UK targets Tyler Zeller, Brandon Jennings, Jamychal Green, Olek Czyz, and Greg Monroe have ruled out UK. Tracy Webster has been hired onto UK's staff, and lots of other things are also happening inside the program.
Here's what isn't happening. The widely-predicted exodus of UK players has not occurred, and there is no sign that it will. In fact, every current Cat has announced his intention to stay, and several (e.g., Meeks, Jasper, Harris) have publicly praised Gillispie and his staff.
That does not mean no one will ever leave. All programs suffer occasional attrition. In the present case, Jared Carter's shoulder remains a ripe topic for speculation.
But at the present time, Carter still intends to give it one more try, and scholarships remain at a tight premium.
A look at UK's roster reveals:
- Alex Legion (Fr., 2-3 swing man)
- Pat Patterson (Fr., 4-5 baseline player)
- AJ Stewart (Fr., 3-4 combo forward)
- Mike Williams (Fr., center)
- Michael Porter (So., PG)
- Derrick Jasper (So., PG)
- Jodie Meeks (So., 2-3 swing man)
- Perry Stevenson (So., PF)
- Ramon Harris (So, WF)
- Jared Carter (So. or jr., center)
- Joe Crawford (Sr., 2-3 swing man)
- Ramel Bradley (Sr., 1-2 combo guard)
2008 UK verbals Deandre Liggins (guard) and Darius Miller (WF) are not baseline players.
Now, one does not have to be a genius to see UK needs more baseline players. That does not mean Gillispie can sign more baseline players, but he is sure trying to do that. Watch which 2008 prospects actually show up for Big Blue Madness. All of them are on UK's recruiting board, and most of them will be baseline players. Also, keep an eye on which guard prospects don't show up for BBM, despite having been widely reported on the internet as invitees throughout the summer. That will tell you where the current emphasis is on the recruiting board.
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